Termites In Wood Furniture – Signs & Treatment

If you are battling an infestation in your furniture, then keep reading. In this article, we will be giving you tips on how to treat termites in furniture.

A home is not complete without adequate furniture, and as we all know, most furniture is made of wood. Termites love chewing through wood and can do considerable damage to your wooden property.

Wood Termites In Furniture

Termites are similar to ants, in the sense that they live in colonies and have a queen. They also have worker termites that go out in search of food.

Besides the need for food, termites can also migrate for the sake of escaping harsh outdoor weather conditions. They will look for warmer, comfortable environments to nest in over the winter and your home can provide such comfort.

Swarmer termites can also leave their old colonies in search of conducive areas to start a new colony. When they make their way into your home, your woodwork will be a favorite for them.

The damage they cause to wooden furniture takes some time before it begins to manifest and it could take years before you notice the damage they have caused.

If the infestation isn’t controlled quickly, the colony will grow and the termites will spread to other areas of your home. At this point, practically all the woodwork in your home will be infested and destroyed.

Home furniture doesn’t come cheap, and termite damage will potentially cost you thousands of dollars in repair or replacement.

If the infestation is at its early stages, then you can treat it before it gets worse and your furniture is no longer usable.

Termites In Furniture Signs

Before you can begin treating termites in your furniture, you first have to be sure they are there. The only way to be certain your furniture is being infested by termites is to keep an eye out for the signs.

So what are these signs of termite damage in furniture? We will be taking a look at them below.

Hollow Wood

Natural furniture wood is never hollow, it retains its thickness for many years, basically forever. But unless termites have been inactive inside them.

One of the most obvious signs that you have termites in your furniture is hollow wood. By merely sitting on your couch, you can feel the hollowness inside.

To be sure, you can tap on the wood. If the sound is airy, then you will know that the wood has become hollow.

Termites bore through wood with ease, thanks to their very strong jaws. Unless the wood has been pre-treated, termites will jump at the chance to chew as much wood as they can.

If there are many termites in your furniture, then there will be increased activity and more hollowness.

Wood Dust

With all the chewing comes wood dust. As the termites bore through your furniture, they will leave behind heaps of wood dust from the areas which have been eaten through.

If you notice wood dust on the floor where your furniture is, then that’s a sign that there are termites in your furniture.

Rickety Furniture

All the wood chewing can cause considerable damage to your furniture. When several parts of the wood have been damaged, your furniture becomes rickety. It will no longer be as sturdy as it once was when you first got it.

As we mentioned before, you can tell something is wrong with your sofa merely by sitting on it. If it swings from left to right under the pressure of a slight body movement, then that’s a sign that termites have infested it and done significant damage to it.

Besides your sofa, other forms of wooden furniture can also become rickety if they have been infested by termites.

Baseboards for instance can give in to the slightest form of pressure if they have been damaged by termite activities. They could actually fall off position if they have been badly damaged.

Noise Coming From Within Your Furniture

Another sign that points at termite activity in your furniture are internal noise.

Termites aren’t quiet insects and they make a lot of noise as they chew through wood. They are also noisy when they crawl across the tunnels which they have dug inside.

If you hear faint chirping sounds as you lay back on your sofa, then that’s a sign that there are termites in there.

Shredded Termite Wings Around Your Furniture

Swarmer termites fly away from old colonies to start new ones. If they have chosen pieces of your furniture as a nesting area, then they will cause as much damage as possible.

In the process of starting a new colony, the swarmer termites will shed their wings. These wings will be left right where they were shed. If they have begun nesting in your furniture, then you will find their wings along the floor where your furniture is placed.

This is another pointer to termite activity inside your furniture.

How To Check For Termites Inside Your Furniture

Upon noticing the signs of termite activity, what you need to do is to check to see if they are actually there.

Besides physically seeing the termites moving around your furniture, there are other means by which you can confirm their presence.

Follow the tips below to check for termites in your furniture.

Tap On The Wood

Termite activities can leave your woodwork hollow. They are excellent diggers and they use their tunneling skills to create pathways right inside your furniture. This will leave the wood hollow.

To be sure, you can do a quick check by tapping on the wood. If it gives off a hollow sound, then there are termites in there.

Listen For Sounds

Termites may be noisy creatures, but being that they are small, their noises will not be amplified.

To check for termite activity in your furniture, you can place your ear on the furniture surface and listen carefully for sounds coming from within.

Before you listen, make sure you turn off all surrounding noises. These include your TV, sound system, air-conditioning, fans, etc. You can also shut the windows and doors to block off external noises.

Besides using your natural hearing ability to check for termite sounds, you can also use your phone sound recorder. Simply turn it on and place it on the surface of the furniture you suspect has been infested by termites.

Record for about a minute then listens to it carefully. If you hear movements coming from inside your furniture, then there are termites in there.

Damage Caused By Termites In Furniture

Your furniture will be at the mercy of termites if they become infested. This would leave you with a considerable amount of damage to deal with, and this damage will run into thousands of dollars in repair and replacement.

The damage termites cause to your furniture include the following –

  • Hollow wood
  • Reduction of sturdiness
  • Chipped wood
  • Scarred wooden surfaces

Termite In Furniture Treatment

If you’re lucky, the damage done by termites on your furniture may not require you to discard it and get a new one. At the early stages, a termite infestation can be treated.

Follow these tips to treat a termite infestation in your furniture.

Call A Professional Exterminator

A termite infestation is no small matter and should be handled with urgency. If not, you will spend a significant amount of money on replacement.

For this reason, a professional pest exterminator is your best bet. They have years of experience in dealing with insect pests and would know exactly what to do to disinfect your furniture.

There are other DIY methods you can employ to treat furniture infestation, but why risk it?

Hiring termite professionals would indeed cost you more money, but you’ll be sure that your furniture would be free from termites.

Treat Your Wood With Termite Repellants

As they say, prevention is always the best route to follow.

When you get your furniture, you would be doing yourself a favor by buying termite repelling sprays and use it on all your woodwork.

This should be done every few months to keep the termites away.

There are many commercial termite repellents you can buy from a pest control store near you.

Another tip is to buy furniture that has only pre-treated wood. As the manufacturer builds the furniture, they apply the treatment before it is put on sale.

Pre-treated wood can repel termites for many years, depending on the kind of treatment used of course.

Use Peppermint Oil Or Spray

Most insects are allergic to peppermint oils and sprays. You can buy a bottle and apply the oil on your furniture to treat a termite infestation.

You can also mix with water and pour it into a spray bottle. Be sure to spray across the surface of your furniture and into the holes they have dug.


The process of treating termites in antique or modern furniture is not difficult, but it must be done before they do irreparable damage.

Hope this article has been informative.

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